Living comfortably in Alabama and enjoying some basic life necessities will not be possible without large commercial trucks. However, as helpful as trucks are, they are also quite dangerous. When trucks collide with other vehicles on the roadway, it leads to catastrophic consequences.
The frequency and severity of truck collisions make it a common ground for personal injury and wrongful death claims. However, since commercial trucks do not always belong to the truck driver, many people file their claim against the wrong party.
Thus crash victims must know who will pay for their damages in a commercial truck collision. A truck accident lawyer at Mike Bell can help you understand your legal options.
WHO IS AT FAULT IN A COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENT?
Alabama, like other legal jurisdictions in the United States, is an at-fault state. It means that the negligent driver will compensate the victim for their injuries and property losses. Compensation would also cover emotional injuries like pain and suffering.
Thus, a driver would have behaved negligently if they:
- Drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fail to secure their cargo properly
- Operate a vehicle while distracted
- Fail to obey stops signs or traffic lights
- Drive beyond the speed limit
- Fail to maintain adequate space in between vehicles
- Fail to maintain their lane or drive on the wrong way
- Participate in other dangerous road behaviors
However, it is not in every case that the fault driver pays compensation to the victim. Alabama follows the pure contributory negligence system. Thus, if you contribute to an accident to any degree, you will lose your right to damages. The law applies even if your liability is less than 50%.
WHO CAN YOU SUE FOR A COMMERCIAL TRUCK ACCIDENT IN ALABAMA?
In any civil lawsuit, it is important to file the action against the necessary party. A necessary party is someone whose presence would ensure the productive and complete determination of an action in court. In a commercial truck accident claim, the necessary party sometimes goes beyond the truck driver.
Below are some of the parties you can name in a commercial truck accident lawsuit.
- TRUCK DRIVER
More often than not, the truck driver would be liable for an accident claim. This happens when there is evidence of negligence on the driver’s part. So, a driver who drinks and drives or operates the truck outside the stipulated regulatory hours would be deemed negligent.
- TRUCKING COMPANY
A trucking company is a business that employs a truck driver. Under the tort law doctrine of Vicarious Liability, a truck company is liable for the harm done by their drivers. However, the driver must be working on behalf of the company when the accident happened.
If a truck driver operates their vehicle outside their working hours and gets into a commercial truck accident, the company is not liable. The trucking company is also not liable to independent contractors. This is why most companies try to claim their drivers are independent contractors.
However, there are factors and requirements that the company must prove to show that a driver is not their full-time employee. Contact our auto accident attorneys to find out what these requirements are.
- THIRD-PARTY DRIVER
Sometimes, the fault in a commercial truck accident might not lie with the truck driver. Suppose a speeding driver suddenly runs a red light at an intersection where the truck driver has the green light. In an attempt to avoid the driver, the trucker swerves and strikes your vehicle.
The primary contact might have been from the truck, but the liable party, in this case, is the third-party driver. The motorist is liable because they created the event that caused the accident.
- VEHICLE PART MANUFACTURING COMPANY
If a defective part caused the commercial truck accident, then the manufacturer would be the liable party. The rule is the same for maintenance and repair companies who fail to carry out adequate maintenance. An inspection company would also be liable if they fail to inspect the truck properly.
- CARGO LOADERS
Falling cargos is a common cause of commercial truck accidents. If the cargo loader fails to secure the goods the truck is transporting adequately, they will be liable for any accident caused by it. The rule is the same if cargo overload causes a commercial truck accident.
CONTACT MIKE BELL INJURY LAW TODAY!
A 2019 report disclosed that there were 5,005 fatalities in the United States from commercial truck accidents that year. Unfortunately, determining who is liable for injuries or deaths in such accidents can be tricky.
Are you a victim of a commercial truck accident and don’t know who to sue? Let Mike Bell Accident and Injury Lawyers help you. We will help you identify the necessary parties and ensure you get compensated for your losses. Contact us for a free case review today.